In my little corner of the Northeastern U.S., we’ve just cleared our official frost free date. That means that not only have I finally planted my veggie garden, but I’ve moved all of my houseplants (except the orchids) out of doors for their summer vacation and like my small seedlings earlier this season, I need to harden them off a bit before I let them bask in the full rays of the sun.
Primarily I’m trying to avoid scorching existing leaves. Even the toughest leaf, like the Meyer Lemon and bay trees below, will burn out if placed directly in the sun after overwintering indoors. While the tougher leafed plants will survive (and not look too attractive), anything with a tender leaf (annuals like geraniums and fuchsia) will most likely die. And trust me – I know from experience.
Hardening off house plants isn’t difficult, they don’t need to be carried in at night, and they don’t need to be coddled like those tiny seedlings you were moving in and out for the prior month. What you need to do is find a shady corner, drop them there, and water. That’s it. Give them a few days and then do a test on a really bright day by setting one out in the full sun. Keep an eye out though, the damage can happen fast.
And I haven’t placed my orchids out yet since I have so many at this point and I find they need total shade for the summer (that real estate is being occupied by all the other houseplants right now). But I encourage you to put them out – you’ll be rewarded come fall & winter with loads of blooms. And here is a link to my post on re-blooming orchids the easy way!
And if you don’t normally put your houseplants out – do! They love it and they’ll thrive. I also give all my plants a good bath when they go out and inspect for any creepy-crawlies. If someone needs to be repotted, I also tackle that once they’re hardened off…
And here’s a fun blog for all your houseplant needs… Houseplant Guru… It’s a fun one!
Thanks as always for reading EG!